Representatives from the Center for Hellenic Studies, the Kosmos Society and Out of Chaos Theatre have been presenting scenes from Greek tragedy in our shared time of isolation to explore how the context of the ‘small screen’ changes the way we understand the genre and its performance, how the themes and concerns of ancient tragedy communicate to us today, especially in a time of crisis, and, most importantly, to stay occupied and engaged with one another.  Each week we select scenes from a play, actors and experts from around the world, and put them all together for 90 minutes or so to see what will happen.

The latest is Euripides’ Orestes, a play that revisits Orestes’ fate after he kills his mother Klytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus to avenge the murder of his father, Agamemnon. If the story sounds familiar, well, it is: the Homeric Odyssey presents Orestes as a model for Telemachus repeatedly. Aeschylus makes his story the topic of our only surviving Greek trilogy, ending in Athens with an aetiology for the trial by jury

But, in typical Eurpidean style, this Orestes is surprising and unsettling. If Aeschylus’ Oresteia is optimistic, projecting a belief in the redemptive or at least balancing powers of human institutions, Euripides’ Orestes is the opposite, showing that human institutions fail to distribute justice when needed most and that individuals give in to the worst excesses of human nature.

Orestes – Richard Neale
Electra – Tabatha Gayle
Chorus – Tim Delap and Evelyn Miller
Pylades – Martin K Lewis
Menelaus – Robert Matney
Apollo – Paul O’Mahony

Scene Selection and dramaturgy: Emma Pauly

Special Guest: Claire Catenaccio

Upcoming Readings(Wednesdays at 3PM EDT, Unless otherwise noted)
Aeschylus, The Persians May 13th
Euripides, Trojan Women, May 20th
Sophocles, Ajax, May 29th
Euripides, Andromache, June 3rd
Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannos, June 10th
Euripides, Ion, June 17th [10 AM EDT/3PM GMT]
Euripides, Hecuba, June 24th
Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound, July 1st

Videos of Earlier Sessions
Euripides’ Helen, March 25th 
Sophocles’ Philoktetes, April 1st
Euripides’ Herakles, April 8th
Euripides’ Bacchae, April 15th
Euripides’ Iphigenia , April 22nd
Sophocles, Trachinian Women, April 29th